Friday, 27 April 2012

Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM)

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Malaysia’s award-winning Forest Research Institute of Malaysia is more than a test bed for scientific work; the institute’s well-preserved forest helps to create environmental awareness and conserve forest biodiversity.

Walking the canopy of a Malaysian forest is a must for visitors to the country’s Forest of Institute of Malaysia (FRIM). The 150-metre long canopy walkway, which is 30 metres above ground level, was initially constructed for scientific studies of Malaysia’s flora and fauna, but it is now open to the public because it offers a unique experience for visitors to appreciate nature.
Not an attraction to be attempted by those afraid of heights, visitors must hike up the Rover track to reach the entrance of the canopy walkway.  The walkway consists of four suspended bridges and several platforms in between them, for nature lovers to enjoy the view and serenity.
Back in 1928, a British forest scientist was tasked to set up FRIM in the then forest-rich Malaya.  Dr F.W. Foxworthy selected a site in Kepong to be classified as an area to study forestry, which remains as it was, till today, surrounded by the Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve.
Acting as the first research director of FRIM, Dr Foxworthy started several experimental plantations, mainly Dipterocarps, which were tall hardwood species.  Slowly, the institute began to grow and several laboratories and herbariums, to include a museum, were built.
Today, the site spans close to 500 hectares, having developed over 200,000 tree and herb species and specimens.  FRIM also provides an arboreta as a reference for local and global researchers in forestry education, as well as specimens for landscape, wood, rattan and bamboo development.

The forest cover provides a conducive environment for wildlife to thrive as well as a popular spot for migratory bird sightings. FRIM’s vast forest provides visitors, particularly hikers many different trails to try out.  The Keruing trail goes through the institute’s oldest plantations which has commercial timber trees.
Other than leading to the popular canopy walk, the Rover track offers a more challenging hike, as it follows a contour on slopes leading towards the summits of Bukit Beruang and Bukit Nolang. Meanwhile, the Razak Walk is known to be the institute’s disabled-friendly trail covering some 400 metres in the forest.
In 2011, this award-winning institute was recognised by the Europe Business Assembly under the category of Best Enterprise Award (Applied Research and Scientific Achievements), earning the “International Socrates Award” – marking a first for Malaysia.
Recognition : Susan Tam   Posted in : 

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